Contributed by Jim Lynn
The colder temperatures are settling in and we are starting to see snow in our forecast as we head deeper into winter. Occasionally we are fortunate enough to have what New Englanders refer to as a dusting (anything under 6 inches), but it is becoming more commonplace to see greater snow accumulations or destructive ice storms with our winter weather. Last year we saw numerous landscape plants damaged by the weight of our heaviest snowfall on record in the Boston area.
Many times as we maintain the beauty of gardens we are working in the vicinity of service lines, especially when we are clearing downed or broken branches due to heavy ice and snow loads. To enable us to properly identify utilities, understand electrical hazards and conform with safety standards when working around electricity, Christie and the crew got together with the Tree Care Industry Association for Electrical Hazard Recognition & Compliance Training.
We were surprised to see just how many potential hazards there can be with electricity. It is hard to remember that we have to keep a good distance from service lines when we see squirrels and birds using them as an elevated walkway or a place to rest between flights. Unless you are a certified line worker, the closest anyone can safely work around service lines while conforming to electrical safety standards is 10 feet! Ten feet is the closest anything you are touching should be from any service line.
One thing is for certain: electrical safety is serious business and should not be taken lightly. Allow trained professionals to handle potentially unsafe situations for you. Properly maintaining trees and shrubs around service lines and selecting the right plant material for these areas can also help prevent unsafe situations. When working near electricity it is always better to work with extra caution rather than work with any questionable circumstances. As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to have us evaluate the situation for you – we can safely perform what’s needed for your trees or plants, or we can put you in touch with professionals in the tree care industry that are qualified for more dangerous tasks.